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AU students' return gives community economic boost

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AUBURN, AL (WTVM) -

They're back!

Twenty-five thousand Auburn University students are rushing into town, gearing up for fall semester.

This is the time of year local retailers and restaurants have been waiting for. It means the lazy days of summer and sluggish sales are over as students bring their wallets back to Auburn.

There is business again, the town is coming back alive, it's been asleep a little bit for this summer.

Inside Dimensions Salon, stylists are busy once again.

"For my individual business, it is about 75 percent of my clientele and we only exist because of Auburn University student body and we just love the students," said Stephen Prestridge, owner of Dimensions Salon.

Students like sophomore Ashley Kinkle unpacked, then immediately came to her favorite downtown boutique Behind The Glass.

"I just love everything and all the stores downtown," Kinkle said.

"It has been so busy with the AU students moving back, coming in with their parents and families and its almost been like a game day," said Hannah Arick, manager at Behind The Glass. "It has been great we are so used to the lull we have in the summer so for them to be back it's great and the girls are getting ready for rush."

Auburn swells by 25,000 students, plus faculty and staff during the fall semester.

This year a record number of approximately 4,500 freshman will discover downtown shopping. It's what keeps local businesses going.

Back at Dimensions, stylists see around 60 clients a day during the summer. In the fall, those numbers nearly double.

"We are so excited we saw over 100 to 115 people yesterday and we will see that many today, it's just a circus, we are getting ready for fall football! War Eagle," Prestridge said.

University officials will have an official number of incoming freshmen on August 15.

The average act score of those students is 27, and the average grade point average is 3.75.   

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